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emma hewson



contents abstract___________________________________5 aim _____________________________________5 underwater trend_________________________6/7 mermaids_________________________________8 walt disney’s the little mermaid, 1989___________9 non-surgical body enhancement______________10 andre kertesz_____________________________11 desireable figures: through the decades_____12/13 hourglass figure________________________ 14/15 sculptural design________________________16/17 vintage swimwear______________________18/19 shifts in modesty________________________20/21 katy perry_____________________________22/23 bettie page____________________________24/25 print inspiration_________________________26/27 print design development________________ 28/29 the digital print process___________________30/31 resolved prints__________________________32/33 fabric_________________________________34/35

undergarment design development________36/37 undergarment design finalisation__________38/39 overgarment design developments_________40/41 collection line-up illustration drawing__________42 undergarment line-up______________________43 ariel one-piece suit_________________________44 bootyliscious one-piece suit__________________45 katy bikini set______________________________46 gaga one-piece suit________________________47 draped overgarments___________________48/49 seek’n’ oversize sunhat___________________50/51 photoshoot ideas_______________________52/53 haitstyle ideas__________________________54/55 make-up ideas for photoshoot_____________56/57 hairpieces_____________________________58/59 location and studio photoshoots___________60-67 project evaluation__________________________68 end credits_______________________________70

“ 80% of swimwear never gets wet.”

“ . . . p l a y f u l ,

d i s t u r b i n g ,

p r o v o c a t i v e ,

s t y l i s e d ,

D i s n e y . . . ”

abstract This mini-collection (four outfits) is an interpretation of swimwear in the context of stage costume as designed for project muse, Katy Perry. Using luxury evening fabrics as opposed to expected elastomeric, my collection describes the transition from beach to club. The powerful feminine figure is highlighted through padding, contoured paneling and symmetrical print, commenting on the enhancement and distortion of the body as a desirable hourglass shape. My designs are developed under the direction of five words: playful, provocative, stylised, disturbing and Disney. The Little Mermaid film (1989) is a contemporary example of body distortion, with Ariel’s narrow waist, large hips and shell covered breasts. Disney colours are described in my prints through a digital development of The Little Mermaid screen shots. Bold colour and clean lines recreate The Little Mermaid in contemporary form. My collection could be situated within the resort wear or costume genres. I am inspired by Romance Was Born, Jean Paul Gaultier and, of course, the late, great Alexander McQueen. The symmetry present in my digital print is a tribute to his recent works, and is also a way to draw the eye in to the centre of the body. During my research of historical swimwear, I learned that 80% of swimwear never gets wet. The majority of people purchase swimwear for aesthetic reasons. My garments are not for the water, but an evening-wear interpretation of the 1950’s style swimming costume. In contrast to three body-hugging, one-piece suits and a bikini, I have created over garments with fullness to add volume and movement into the collection. Tiered puff sleeves and a detachable bikini cape give an added dimension to the fitted undergarments. An oversized yellow sunhat gives reference to the beach. I have created mermaid-tail inspired leggings which can be worn underneath the suits for a more thematic outfit. My project aims to describe an enhanced female silhouette in a fun, contemporary execution. Bring on Summer 2012 or Katy Perry’s next music video.


To explore enhanced body image and distorted figures in reference to ’s character. Ariel’s cartoon figure is stylized in a way that dramatically narrows the waist while enhancing the hips and bust. Create a Resort Wear “swimwear” collection inspired by the enhancement of the feminine physique. Develop fun yet glamorous provocative garments using a 1950’s hourglass silhouette, exaggerated with padding, panels, and print. Target this collection to Katy Perry, a muse for this project. Construct a stylized line-up of four well-constructed “swim suits” (size 10) with accompanying beach accessories (Hat, neck-tie, cover-ups).

undersea creatures: jellyfish mermaids sea horses octopus schools of fish coral and sea weed

Textile View Magazine issue #90

underwater trend water colours: aqua turquoise navy green

elegant mysterious intriguing attractive a recurring motif I will be using throughout this collection is the scallop shell.


Underlying themes apparent in this popular film are the quest for love, the selling of one’s identity (voice) as well as youth, naivety, innocence and beauty. We can see an example of body distortion through The Little Mermaid cartoon character, with her tiny waist and enlarged hips, breasts and eyes. A popular children’s film, Disney’s The Little Mermaid promotes a stylized, ideal figure to young and impressionable children. Arial’s small body size is described to the audience when her fish friend, Flounder, struggles to fit through a ship’s port-hole, while Arial swims through easily. Her large, doe-like eyes, cute button nose and full bodied hair are stereotypically “beautiful” and desireable. When the sea-witch, Ursula, steals Arial’s voice, Arial questions what she will do without her voice. Ursula answers: “you have your looks, your pretty face, and don’t underestimate the power of body language.” This is saying that looks are more important than personality, and as long as you have an attractive appearance, you can get the handsome stranger.

walt disney’s

the little mermaid, 1989 film

non-surgical body enhancement

“There was a time when women would do almost anything to minimize their buttocks, from wearing girdles, control tops and rigid shape wear. Today, women of all ages seek that bootylicious look that our pop culture has embraced in celebrities, music and fashion.” Influences in the media such as Beyonce, J-Lo etc promote the sexuality of having a full bottom.

clockwise from top left: Elevatrix push-up bra; lift & sculpt panties; madonna’s infamous cone bra; Bootie Pop panties.

Andre Kertesz

Enhanced figures are commonly promoted through the media as the ‘ideal’ body, which is often unattainable due to severe image retouching and airbrushing. “The images that are presented in advertising are designed to create an illusion, a fantasy ideal that will keep women continually consuming.” Hungarian photographer Andre Kertesz describes the distorted body in his 1933 series aptly titled Distortion. Using mirrors in conjunction with alternative camera angles, we can see the human body as a warped representation. The image (below, left)has a wildly distorted leg, although we still recognise the subject as human.

distortion series, 1933

every era has a different standard for what is desireable or acceptable. we can see the shift in figure types from the curvaceous statues and portraits of the early 1800’s, to the size 0 models and airbrushed magazine covers of contemporary society.

desireable figures: through the decades

Body reality is measured constantly against an ideal of what we think the body should look like and how it should act,” (Price, p.6, 1990). Each person has different opinions, both positive and negative, about their own bodies, as well as the bodies of other people. Women, in particular, are notorious for comparing and judging their bodies against the bodies of others. “Body ideal includes a norm of body contours, body size and relative proportion,” (Price, p.6, 1990). How one position’s their body on the scale of ideal and less than ideal body types is a way to tell how modest or immodest they act and dress, in accordance with how comfortable they are with their body. Many women are intimidated by provocative dress, suggesting they may be uncomfortable with their body type. My collection is intended for women who are comfortable in their own skin and enjoy the playful, revealing aspect of swimwear.

hour-glass figure

the most desireable figure type in modern society is the hourglass, with the bust and hips larger in proportion to the waist. I will focus on this silhouette in my collection and observe how it can enhance the female body.

1950’s trend described in Textile View, Issue #90

A study of over 6,000 women carried out by researchers at the North Carolina State University in 2005 found that 46% had banana figures (rectangular), just over 20% were pear, just under 14% apple, and only 8% hourglass. “According to many fashion and beauty experts and body measurement charts available in various health and fitness websites and journals, women with a 36 inch bust, 26 inch waist and 36 inch hips look gorgeous in almost every outfit. Thus, you can take 36”- 26”- 36” as the ideal body measurement for women.”

influential designers: jean paul gaultier rei kawakubo thierry mugler walter van bierendonck malousebastiaan

sculptural design exaggerated shaping to enhance the feminine body i intend to create sculptuer within the constraints of an hourglass shape. i will use polyester fibre stuffing inserted into panels to acheive a padded aesthetic.

The ad states “This is the hourglass, the silhouette that does so much for every figure. Under its shaping influence your waist is whittled, your hips go into hiding.” Rose Marie Reid swimsuits are highly coveted by collectors of vintage swimwear because of their amazing construction and fabrics not found in bathing suit of today.

In the 1940’s, corset manufacturers saw a gap in the undergarments market. Corsetry was losing ground, but the new more revealing swimsuits really needed experts to design garments that hid faults in a woman’s shape. Manufacturers achieved this by adding stretch tummy control panels to hold in the stomach. Most also used bra cups and boning to give bust support.

vintage swimwear

“Many of the swimsuits from the Fifties were made in the hourglass shape to form and mould the body with construction details and fabric similar to undergarments which help to emphasise assets and camouflage flaws”

“The modern girl is triumphant. She can wear anything she wants to wear, but, if she is wise, she will be careful not to let freedom go to her head. After all, a bathing suit tells are more honest story than any other kind of dress,” Probert, C (1981). Swimwear in Vogue: Since 1910

Elizabeth Rouse writes in her essay Why do people wear clothes? (2007) that the human body is considered shameful, with young children being taught which parts of their body are expected to be hidden. She explains that human nature is comfortable with nudity, but society creates a stigma rendering nudity inappropriate in the public realm (Rouse, 2007). I find this very interesting, and intend to push the boundaries with partially see-through swimwear.

beach police measuring swim suit length on a beach in 1920’s

shifts in modesty

The shift in modesty over the decades is apparent, from the 1920’s body covering beach dresses, to the contemporary bikini, displaying the body with skin-tight fabrics and bust-enhancing support. B athing suits kept pace with 1920’s fashions, with the “most daring” swimsuit (at the time) a fine, clinging jersey one-piece. Studying the history of swimwear, I learnt that women dressed for the beach with the intention of looking good on the sand, not to swim.

In my research of contemporary swimwear, it became apparent that the majority of bathing apparel is designed with a close fit to the body, usually constructed out of elastomeric fabric. This exposes every curve of the body, leaving nothing to the imagination and a true sense of the body on display. In referencing the one-piece suits of the 1950’s decade, I will have sneaky panels of clear plastic to display the body. Brazil, Copacobana Beach, 1974

Encouraged to find a muse who would wear my collection, I chose pop icon Katy Perry. Her bizarre stage costumes and fun-loving nature would make her an ideal candidate.

candy bra and latex hot pants with blue hair. just another day at work for katy perry.

katy perry

coming down from the ceiling in a scallop shell dressed as a mermaid

Because my muse is Katy Perry, who is idolized by many young girls, I decided to document my collection progress in an online format. At the beginning of this assignment, I started a blog on as an informal way to keep track of my challenges and successes throughout the project. Online records can be viewed at BELOW: katy wearing a cup cake bra in her California Girl’s video clip

“I think that she was a remarkable lady, an iconic figure in pop culture who influenced sexuality, taste in fashion, someone who had a tremendous impact on our society.� Hugh Hefner

bettie page as well as katy perry, i discovered bettie page and her provocative pin-ip photography. her suggestive yet fun poses are flirtatious but still fashionable.

josh goot

alexander mcqueen

print inspiration

basso & brooke

textile view issue #92 forecasting

flamingo sands

romance was born

fluid abstract symmetry and random multi-coloured graphic bright

print design development experimentation with a variety of different imagery in brightly saturated colours. using the liquify filter in adobe photoshop, an abstract, marbelled print is produced

I used Photoshop CS3 to develop the desired aesthetics of my digital print. It is liquefied using the filter tools so that the original image becomes distorted beyond recognition, leaving only the associated colours of The Little Mermaid film and a marble-style print. I used Huntech to print my fabric on thick polyester satin which retains the photo quality of my image successfully, as well as gives a wet-look to my garments. I created two prints that work together, both derived from still-shots of The Little Mermaid film. One is completely abstract, blended beyond recognition of the original images. The second is a less liquefied version, with recognisable elements of the movie. In the print I have a distorted Ariel, with her breasts and bottom extremely altered. I see this as a humourous way to comment on the distortion of the body in a subtle way.

the digital printing process

first the image is printed full scale onto paper. at this point the colours are incorrect as the ink reacts with the heat in the roller press

the paper is pressed against the fabric and passed through a heat roller machine together

after a few minutes, the print is done! from computer screen, to paper, to fabric in about 8 minutes. the quality is superb - exactly how i imagined.

both final prints are derived from screen shot from Walt Disney’s 1989 film, The Little Mermaid.

print reflected on the x and y axis

the symmetry is derived from the hourglass, and as a tribute to alexander mcqueen’s symetrical prints.

this print contains a distorted little mermaid, commenting on the female enhancement of the body

resolved prints

fake fur polyester


velvet sequin I will use digitally printed satin in combination with velvet, as it connotes luxury and glamour while also having a wet look, as if the garment has been in water. This describes the underwater environment of The Little Mermaid, as well as gives the wearer the appearance of having just come out of the ocean, even if they have only been sunbathing. I will use sequins to give a glamorous evening look to my collection, as well as fake fur for a slightly disturbing quality, as well as to clarify that this swim-wear will not be going in the water – imagine wet fur!

Textile View Issue #92 fabric forecasting

silk vintage mermaid fabric


candyfloss pale aqua elastomeric

cotton silk lurex blend

silk lycra blend


rendering contrast panelling to bring out hourglass shape

undergarment design development

undergarment design finalisation

overgarment design developments

collection line-up illustration drawing

undergarment line-up

scallop padded bra cups padded hips symmetrical centre front and back contrast black sequin side panels concealed zipper in centre back

ariel one-piece suit

power shoulder padded straps padded bum cheeks piped stomach seams to elongate torso clear plastic ruffle in contrast panel seam clear plastic panel in centre front bust

bootyliscious onepiece suit woman are known for asking “does my bum look big in this?� in this particular garment, the answer is, most certainly, yes.

tiered padded cone bra clear plasic centre front panel clear plastic waist band ruffle fur padded hips piped front and back seams to elongate mermiad tail cape can be attached in the back for an elegant alternative hook and eye closure at centre back

katy bikini set

strapless 1950’s style scallop padded hips clear plastic under bust panel black sequin contrast side panels to enhance hourglass shape piped seams to elongate the body

gaga one-piece suit

draped over-garments To contrast with all the symmetry in my collection, I made the asymmetric draped top in a peach cotton silk. It is an open cover up that can be worn to funk up a casual outfit. The whole garment is made from two pieces using Julian Robert’s plug technique, so I avoided any wastage in the construction of this design. It works well as a complement to the symmetric Scallop Shell open jacket.

cotton/silk blend feels luxuriously soft and drapes well

assymetric draped cover-up

repetition of the scallop shell motif can be seen in this openjacket. the mesh sleeves are gatheres so they move on the wrist.

shell motif cover-up Because my garments can be interpreted as extravagant, high end resort wear suitable for night-clubbing or stage performance, the undergarments are not really appropriate as every day attire. However, the Scallop Shell open jacket and the Asymmetric Drape cover-up are much more wearable and commercial. The leggings and neck-scarf can be used to accessories casual outfits. I thought it would be useful to have a few commercial pieces in my collection to support the zany undergarments.

made from the stiffest fusing available and with wire in the brim for extra support, this floppy hat is like a bright ray of sunshine.

the bigger the hat, the more glamourous!

seek’n’ oversize sunhat

sequin detailing bound ribbon inside lined bound circumference

on a beach at night. will need sufficient artificial lighting

photoshoot ideas my photoshoot should portray a 1950’s elegance.

in a cocktail bar with plush interior decor

1950’s poolside set-up with cocktails, lounging furniture and umbrellas pin-up studio shoot with coloured wall

daytime poolside, partially immersed in water

wet hair so it looks like she just came out of the water

hair style ideas i will have a hair-piece to decorate the head, so simple, loose waves will be a good way to keep the focus on the outfits and the accessories. i love this image: green hair and make-up, pearl shell bra and sea creature hair piece!

mermaid waves, loosly curled and lightly hairsprayed

plaited headband

make-up ideas for photoshoot

artificial attachments to enhance the eyes and give and extravagant aesthetic

feathers blended colour warm and cool hues glossy lips glitter fake eyelashes winged eyeliner

hair pieces feathers! feathers! sequins! feathers!

feathers with sequins attached to head band

can be worn on the head with the feathers facing either forward or backward

fan feather headdress for catwalk show

cropped image to show hair and makeup

location and studio photo shoots

fun and flirty katy perry pose

mermaid tail cape is fun to play with as it is full and has movement.

yellow hat casts a golden light on george, my model

aerial view to show the green colour of the water, candels, cocktail drinks and inflatable ring

four different outfits in my collection from left (opposite page) to right (this page): ariel one-piece suit; katy bikini set, feather and sequin headdress; seek’n’ oversize hat, bootyliscious one-piece suit; gaga onepiece suit, bettie page neck scarf.

strong pose to show side view of the scallop bust

sheer mermaid cape with ruffle photographs well. will look good on stage if katy perry wants to wear it

playing with oversize hat. puff sleeves look like jelly fish.

cute 1950’s pose on the edge of the pool. colours of the outfit stand out against the grey brick

bamboo torch seen through the sheer cape.

strong frontal pose shows hourglass panelling. underbust clear panels are quite sneeky. silk puff sleeves look great in photographs.

fun, 1950’s poses

project evaluation In the first semester, my inspiration came from undersea creatures and the distortion of viewing them through the water. Encouraged to redirect my idea, I decided to focus on mermaids (in particular, The Little Mermaid) and the distortion of the body. This altered direction gave me insight into the female body and the prominent desire to possess an hourglass figure. I enjoyed researching the history of swimming attire and am amazed at how conservative past fashions were; with the beach police measuring women’s hem lines to ensure they were decent enough! It was fun for me to create a more provocative version of 1950’s swimwear. Although I am a big fan of four-way stretch fabric and it would seem logical to design a swimwear collection using the expected fabric, I enjoyed the challenge of creating a close fit to the body using only woven fabrics. My initial drape for the first undergarment was, looking back, I bit of a joke as I was completely unsure how I could even start to make a woven swim suit. But once I got my head around it and realized I would need multiple panels to contour around the body, I began moving in my intended direction. Overall, I am quite proud of how my garments eventuated. I enjoyed translating a popular film and a strong message of female body enhancement into fun and wearable show pieces. I had a great experience learning how to print digitally, and overcame many construction issues involving padded paneling and clear plastic inserts. Hand sewing the bagged-out lining was a painstaking process, but it looks professional and was the only appropriate way to finish the garment. Although the overgarments are secondary to the undergarments, I enjoy the contrast of fullness accompanying the fitted body-suits. The movement will look really nice on the catwalk, especially the oversize cape and giant hat. I had never made a hat before, and enjoyed the challenge of constructing something so large and awkward. I liked designing for a muse as it gave me a defined purpose for my collection, as it is not really commercial enough to hang on the racks of Unity Collection, for example. It is satisfying to know that it could be worn by someone with such flamboyance as Katy Perry. I am glad I got the chance to create such a unique collection and I feel confident it will stand out from the crowd.

collection line-up

thank-you... to everyone who offered their support throughout the duration of this assignment. in particular... vince, lilian, jen, holly and catherine for design and construction opinions tif, marie and eliza - my companions at the ‘asian invasion’ table lukas. you know how awesome you are. all the uni girls who made the difficult times funny and crazy mum, dad, dori, bernie, kim, ant, phil, michael, grossi & grosvater. dane, shera, george, minty, tim, judith. you guys made the photoshoot incredible. hepa and chelsea for covering my shifts laura and katheryn for the polyester stuffing steve at huntech. amazing. melissa, jane, kerry, katinka, sian and lisa for transport. myra at printstop tory st. and last but definately not least, my amazing muse. anna mac. amacehew will eventuate one day! xo emma



Nightswimming Portfolio  

Project portfolio of my 2010 work as seen in Nightswimming Collection for S/S 2012

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